One of the world's top skate innovators, George Neal, has broken away from the company he cofounded three years ago to start his own business.
His new company, Liberty Sports, will produce frames, wheels and bearings for inline speed skates.
Neal left Tru-Rev in January as the result of what he said was a difference in business philosophy with partner Desmond Kameka.
A machinist and industrial designer, Neal has earned a growing reputation as a top producer of high-quality racing frames.
He is also responsible for a number of important skate innovations, including one-piece axles, which became the standard for speed skates after he invented them in the 1990s.
Neal said Liberty Sports will produce two lines of frames under the Ion brand. The Ion Avenger series will be made of aluminum (solid or extruded) and be relatively inexpensive (starting at about $240); the high-end Signature line will be of light-weight magnesium and cost about $100 more.
The frames will come in a full range of sizes starting at 4x84mm. The company will also make a frame to accommodate Hyper's new 104mm wheels.
Neal hopes to have the frames ready for sale in time for Indoor Nationals in July, although he said said the rollout could be a little later. The frames will be made at Neal's new machine shop in North Lauderdale, Fla.
Liberty will produce a line of wheels under its Fusion brand and line of bearings under its Liberty brand. Both the wheels and bearings will be manufactured overseas to Liberty's specifications, Neal said.
The wheels will come in three sizes initially: 84, 90 and 100mm.
The ceramic ball bearings will be made of silicon nitrate.
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